Do you sense ringing in your ears? Do your ears feel full? Don’t let these symptoms make you guessing if your brain is complicating simple sensations. In reality, you could be in for acoustic neuroma and not being knowing about it at all.
Acoustic neuroma is a condition in which a tumor (non-cancerous growth) develops on the eighth cranial nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. The function of this nerve connecting the ear and the brain is to transmit sound and provide all information regarding balancing.
In the absence of treatments, symptoms of acoustic neuroma can grow worse. When the size of the tumor in acoustic neuroma becomes bigger, it will exert pressure on the surrounding nerves, blood vessels, and brain thus affecting the functioning of the brain associated with facial expression, balancing, sensation, and muscle control.
Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma
Acoustic neuroma will affect both the ear and the brain and some of the early symptoms include the following:
- Gradual loss of hearing
- Sudden loss of hearing in one ear
- Tinnitus—Ringing in the ear is seen as one of the most prominent symptoms in people having acoustic neuroma
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
- Balancing problems
- Changes in taste
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Tingling and facial numbness for short spans that come and go
- Facial weakness
- Clumsiness and unsteadiness in actions
- Being in confused state
If any of these symptoms of acoustic neuroma appear, you should immediately contact your doctor for treatments.
Treatments for Acoustic Neuroma
Popular treatments for acoustic neuroma include surgery and radiation therapy.
Surgery for acoustic neuroma is performed to remove parts of tumor or whole. Surgery treatments for acoustic neuroma are usually carried out in three types.
- Translabyrinthine surgery: Surgery treatments of this type involve removing a portion of the bone behind the ear and the middle ear. Though this surgery provides a clear view of the facial nerve to the surgeon, it can cause permanent hearing loss.
- Retrosigmoid/sub-occipital surgery: Surgery treatments for acoustic neuroma of this kind involve removing a part of the skull from behind the head that allows large tumors to be removed entirely and also preserve hearing without causing damage to the ear and brain.
- Middle fossa surgery: This type of surgery treatment is used to access the ear canal and middle ear by removing a small bone above the ear canal.
- Endoscopic resection surgery: This is a relatively new type of surgery that is performed through a hole in the skull where the surgeon can remove the acoustic neuromas by looking through a camera.
Radiation therapy is also one of the treatments advocated for acoustic neuroma. However, radiation will have to be controlled based on the patient’s age, size of tumor, medical conditions, and severity of symptoms.
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